New York, NY, June 17, 1999 - The News Corporation Limited (NYSE: NWS; NWS/A) and The Hearst Corporation today announced that News Corporation has signed an agreement to purchase the Hearst Book Group consisting of William Morrow & Company and Avon Books. The acquisition brings Morrow/Avon together with News Corporation's HarperCollins Publishers, joining two companies with complementary strengths to create a full-service publishing industry leader. The transaction is expected to be completed in July.
"This is a strategic move to further strengthen our book publishing business," said Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive of News Corporation. "We have orchestrated a significant turnaround at HarperCollins over the last few years and are well positioned to take the next step -- to build on this experience and success to create an even stronger, more vital and profitable publishing company."
"This is a tremendously exciting development for HarperCollins," said Jane Friedman, President and CEO of HarperCollins Publishers. "We are combining two great companies with very rich publishing histories. Our individual strengths mesh well, building a powerhouse in the industry with a diverse and impressive publishing program. The enlarged company will provide economies of scale to help us enhance our business and better support our authors."
HarperCollins Publishers is one of the leading English-language publishers in the world. The company's considerable strengths include literary fiction, business and self-help with bestselling authors such as John Gray, Barbara Kingsolver, Rebecca Wells, Susan Isaacs, Tony Hillerman, Anne Rivers Siddons and Wally Lamb (Regan Books).
In addition, HarperCollins Children's Books includes bestselling authors such as Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, Jamie Lee Curtis/Laura Cornell and Laura Numeroff/Felicia Bond.
William Morrow & Company and Avon Books are the two operating units of the Hearst Book Group, and together publish 1,000 titles annually and have a combined active inventory of almost 6,000 titles.
Morrow, founded in 1926 and acquired by Hearst in 1981, is one of the nation's leading general trade publishers of hardcover and trade paperback books in fiction, nonfiction and poetry for both children and adults. Its adult imprints include Eagle Brook, Hearst Books, Hearst Marine, Quill Trade Paperbacks, and Rob Weisbach Books. Its juvenile imprints include Beech Tree, Greenwillow, Lothrop Lee & Shepard, Mulberry, Tupelo, and Morrow Junior. Among its bestselling authors are Christopher Andersen, Ken Blanchard, Beverly Cleary, Kevin Henkes, Faye Kellerman, Emeril Lagasse, Dennis Lehane, Jack Prelutsky, Cokie Roberts, Sidney Sheldon, and Vera B. Williams.
Avon Books, acquired by Hearst in 1959, began publishing in 1941 and is the second-oldest paperback publisher in the United States. Today, Avon Books publishes fiction and nonfiction titles in hardcover, trade paperbacks and mass market formats for the adult, young adult and children's markets.
Avon's imprints include Avon Trade Paperbacks, Avon Camelot, Avon Eos, Avon Flare, Avon Romance, Avon Romantic Treasure, Avon Twilight, Bard, Spike, and WholeCare. Recent bestselling authors include Robert C. Atkins, M.D.; Faye Kellerman, Johanna Lindsey, Elizabeth Lowell, Rosemary Rogers, Neal Stephenson, and Kathleen E. Woodiwiss.
HarperCollins is part of News America Publishing Group, a division of News Corporation. Headquartered in New York, HarperCollins has publishing operations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia and its Web site can be visited on the Internet at
The News Corporation Limited is one of the world's largest media companies with total assets as of March 31, 1999 of approximately US$36 billion and total annual revenues of approximately US$14 billion. News Corporation's diversified global operations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Latin America and the Pacific Basin include the production and distribution of motion pictures and television programming; television, satellite and cable broadcasting; the publication of newspapers, magazines and books; the production and distribution of promotional and advertising products and services; the development of digital broadcasting; the development of conditional access and subscriber management systems; and the creation and distribution of popular on-line programming.
The Hearst Corporation, a private company, is one on the nation's largest diversified communications companies, with interests in magazine, newspaper, book and business publishing; television and radio stations; newspaper comics and features syndication; cable television networks; television production and syndication; and new media activities.
For more information regarding News Corporation, please visit www.newscorp.com
Lisa Herling, HarperCollins Publishers, (212) 207-7583
Debra Shriver, The Hearst Corporation, (212) 649-2461